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The Tennessee Consumer Outlook Index dropped to 199 from 238 in June, according to the Office of Consumer Research in the Jennings A. level completed education Jones College of Business. The survey measures consumer opinions on a variety of economic topics, from job security to savings and investments to future purchasing plans.

While noting the overall drop continues a much smaller decline from March to June of this year, “the general trend for the past two years remains positive,” said Tim Graeff, marketing professor and director of the Office of Consumer Research. “The overall index is still higher now than it was at the end of last year.”

Graeff emphasized that the recent drops in outlook shouldn’t be interpreted “as a warning of significant reductions in consumer activity.” Tennessee consumers remain positive about the economy, albeit less positive than six months ago, he added.

“For the most part, Tennessee consumers feel President Donald Trump’s economic policies have had a positive effect on the overall U.S. economy, with perceptions of those policies on the economy are relatively consistent across the three regions of the state. However, such perceptions vary widely based on consumers’ political affiliation,” Graeff noted.

• Graeff notes that the outlook declines come at a time when gross domestic product, or GDP, is growing, the stock market is reaching record highs, confidence among small business owners is at its highest level ever, and significant gains are being made in the job market.

“It is possible these declines in outlook are merely a correction, as consumers find it hard to believe the economy can continue to grow and expand at its current pace. average level of education in the us It is also possible that Tennessee consumers are increasingly anxious about possible negative effects of tariffs and trade wars on the economy.”

• Graeff said the upcoming midterm elections in November might also be weighing on consumers’ minds “as they contemplate the possibility that recent economic policies that have led to such economic gains might be threatened. Further, such fears and concerns might not be sufficiently alleviated due to the lack of positive media coverage of recent economic gains.”

Middle Tennessee State University academic officials laid the groundwork for a new mechatronics engineering program in 2012-13. With the state’s blessings, the program went from ground zero in early August 2013 to 20 students that first semester.

Five years and nearly 400 students later, mechatronics is a fast-growing program that’s already graduated 66 students earning $65,000 to $75,000 per year — and received a titanic boost by recently gaining accreditation from the Baltimore, Maryland-based Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology Inc., or ABET, and its Engineering Accreditation Commission.

It is a program retired Bridgestone North Americas Inc. corporate manager Keith Hamilton said is “a step toward moving MTSU into being the premier engineering school in the Southeastern part of the United States.” And it is a program that event host Tonya Scott referenced as growing “from imagination to accreditation.”

Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field of engineering that includes a combination of systems, mechanical, electrical, telecommunications, control and computer engineering. what is the level of education The program is based on a three-level international certification program created by Siemens, a German engineering company and MTSU partner.

“It is a pretty big deal,” said Walter Boles, engineering technology chair, who has been a facilitator of the program since the beginning, referencing the accreditation. “We’re celebrating a milestone and what mechatronics means for the community, our students, industry partners and Tennessee’s economy.”

The ABET action is retroactive to 2015 (“to cover all graduates,” Boles said) and the MTSU accreditation status will appear on ABET’s website in October, he added. ABET is an organization that accredits postsecondary education programs in applied and natural science, engineering and engineering technology.

College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer said the “highly successful ABET accreditation of the MTSU mechatronics program is evidence the program has met the high standards needed to produce graduates ready to enter this critical field of engineering.”

Hamilton, who led Bridgestone’s North America Manufacturing Education Center and is a Franklin County resident, said he’s “just elated that it’s (accreditation) happening. It’s a remarkable accomplishment — an accomplishment no one else believed could be done. It has gone beyond everyone’s expectations.”

As an undergraduate , Elijah Little was undeclared until he “heard about mechatronics. It seemed to fit the bill. level 7 education Being a part of the Experimental Vehicles Program helped me utilize my skills and knowledge, and I’d like to thank MTSU for all the opportunities it has given me.” He is now earning a master’s in engineering management.

MTSU has articulations agreements with Motlow, Roan State and Cleveland State community colleges and is working on an agreement with Volunteer State Community College, allowing students from the colleges to transfer to MTSU “and receive a significant amount of transfer credit toward the bachelor’s degree,” Boles said.

Motlow, which confers associate degrees to its graduates, offered the first mechatronics program in Tennessee and is considered one of the best in the nation. education a level It joins with MTSU to assist area high school programs at Oakland and others. Industry partners pushed for MTSU to offer the four-year bachelor’s degree.

Hamilton, Jimmy Davis with The Davis Groupe and other industry partners attended the event. Another major partner is Smyrna, Tennessee-based Nissan North America, which was represented by Kevin Smith, now retired and others. Alumna Sarah Jost also shared about her positive mechatronics experience.